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Montana health department launches collaboration with faith, community organizations

by KEITH SCHUBERT Daily Montanan
| March 29, 2022 7:00 AM

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has launched a new office to expand its ability to work with faith and community organizations.

The Office of Faith and Community Based Services will serve as a conduit between the Department of Public Health and Human Services and faith and community organizations across Montana, according to its website. The goal, according to the website, is to create a “two-way flow of information, resources and programs to serve the identified health and wellness needs in each community most effectively.”

“We know that faith and community organizations play a fundamental role in supporting holistic health and wellness, as well as self-reliant individuals,” DPHHS Director Adam Meier said in a press release announcing the new office. “We aim to further partner with these organizations, including by providing information and resources about programs that serve all Montanans and better involving these organizations in the work that we do.”

The office was established as part of GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte’s restructuring of the state’s health department. It will be headed by Tracy Moseman, who most recently served as chief program officer at the Office of Public Instruction and before worked in student services at the community and school district level for 13 years, according to the press release.

The office will help organizations promote support resources for aging Montanans, suicide prevention, foster parent recruitment and substance use prevention and is modeled after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives.

“Through effective collaborations, it’s my overarching goal with the office to expand resources and strategies for effective prevention and intervention to improve health outcomes for all Montanans,” Moseman said in the release.

Levi Anderson, CEO of the Western Montana Mental Health Center, said faith organizations are one part of the puzzle for providing adequate mental health resources to Montanans, but it will take a more considerable effort to get the job done.

“I think that we need to work collectively, as stakeholders across multiple industries … like law enforcement, the judicial system, the legislature,” he said. “There are so many individuals and so many different areas that need to pull together to make improvements in the system.”